PEPPERS! They are everywhere in our garden right now…and it totally rocks. Numerous varieties and so many different flavors, sizes, and textures – the perfect accompaniment to a dish or succulent as a stand-alone side. Because they grow in abundance, my family has always had a special way of preparing them, specifically Jalepenos, Hungarian Hots, and Cherry. We of course add them to sauces, meats, salads, etc., but during this time of year make them fried in oil with cloves of garlic several times a week. It doesn’t get any easier than this, and the heat of the oil brings out the peppery flavor.
I highly recommend wearing gloves when preparing hot peppers (and feel free to use any pepper of your choosing in this preparation). If you don’t wear gloves, the hot-hot-hot essence of the oils will linger on your fingers…and to repeat what my parents would tell us as children when we were all in the kitchen preparing them for canning, “Don’t touch your eyes or your pee-pee.”
Begin by cutting off the tops of the peppers, not removing too much pepper. Cut the peppers in half, and circle a paring knife around the cavity of the pepper to remove the seeds and flesh. Place in a bowl, and once all of them are cut, rinse with COLD water (removing any additional seeds that stuck to the peppers). Add about 3-4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high. Add the peppers and mix to coat. Sprinkle lightly with salt.Cook the peppers, mixing occasionally, for about 5-8 minutes, turning them as they begin to wrinkle and brown. Add about 4-6 cloves of garlic, and continue cooking for about 4 minutes, again, stirring occasionally to evenly cook the front and back of the pepper halves.Once all the peppers are cooked (they will be soft), place into a bowl to cool.Once cooled completely, you can store in the refrigerator for several days. Use on sandwiches, as an appetizer on slices of bread (as shown), in cheese quesadillas, or as a topping for pizza. Buon apetito!